There is only so much Twitter I can handle before I start to feel anxiety shredding the edges of my consciousness, and I have to stop before I let it take me someplace where I’m useless.
This is esp. critical right now because my entire freakin’ personal narrative, professional identity, whatever kind of trajectory or sense-making is all snarled around this huge nasty tangled up mess of what “usefulness” even is/means/does anymore. Inertia and anxiety – and exhaustion, to be fair, and probably some vitamin D deficiency stuff – kept me effectively paralyzed for about four years. I did an intense residency in learned helplessness. Everything I’d once known in my bones to be true, to be reliable, to be wisdom I could use to navigate anything… all my old strategies, all my old mantras… everything broke down. I couldn’t make it go again. I couldn’t adjust my vision to correct for what I knew was distorted thinking, and nobody could do it for me, either.
It probably wouldn’t take much for me to go right back there. I can’t afford to do that. I can’t afford to waste any more time.
It’s just that now I’m not always entirely sure how best to prioritize All The Things. There are a lot of Things. And my ability to assess and categorize and prioritize is probably not quite back up to fighting shape.
So I can only spend so long catching up on Twitter or scanning Facebook. I only have so many emails in me in one afternoon before things start to feel shaky and I have to go outside and pull some weeds or something. I am going to have to fumble my way towards figuring out what a sustainable work-life balance even looks like now, and I think my entire perspective on and relationship with the concepts of what work is worth and what vocation is and what it means to be useful and meaningful and how to tell when you’re pushing something too hard or getting stuck in minutiae … all of that is fucked up and needs detangling/redoing/something.
I had one strategy before. Work hard and know everything you can know. If shit isn’t going great, work harder and know even more. It never failed me in over 40 years.
Until it did. I don’t have another strategy, though.
I started thinking today, “Maybe I should get a reading. My own perspective has been skewed for years. Just a perspective check wouldn’t be amiss.” I went and looked to see who was still around at AIRR, and a lot of the folks I’d have once confided in aren’t there anymore, and I started getting sidetracked reading all the profiles of all the new (quote unquote – they probably aren’t new at all lol) people and looking at all the book titles folks have come out with…
and had to steer myself back to what I was supposed to be doing in the first place instead of falling down a rabbit hole…
and realized I don’t exactly know what the fuck that is and that’s the whole problem. My default? Well, I have 8,000 emails to answer, better get to work.
But I can’t work that way right now. It’ll kill me.
I thought, “Maybe you should see if Rev. Fred is available anytime soon.” And then, “You should, to say hi, but you already know what he’s going to say.”And then I thought, “You know who I need a reading from? Henry fucking Rollins.”
And then, “You already know what he’s going to say, too.”
So I’m not going to push to answer 20 more emails tonight (and fail, ’cause that’s too many, and then beat myself up for failing to make enough progress…)
I’m not going to sit here and obsess about shit that makes me sad. I’m not going to try to solve anything that needs more than a night to solve it. I’m going to clean the kitchen, do some pushups, drink some water, take a spiritual bath, and remind myself that this is really all nothing more than a midlife crisis with some epically bad timing. As awful as it’s felt, it’s all pretty pedestrian. It’s just I had this weird isolated space here on the edge of the state where I don’t leave the property for months at a time and my sense of perspective can get way screwy before I realize it. So it can *sound* a lot worse in my head than it necessarily is.
So my center of gravity has shifted a little is all. I just need to find it again, get the blood flowing, and rebuild some muscle mass, figuratively speaking, until I’m not so wobbly. I can’t do that sitting down – gotta move around and try things out. Just have to avoid getting bogged down when things don’t always work the first time (or the second time)…
This has to be the right direction. Because *there isn’t another fucking direction.*
Sweat. Drink water. Take a bath. Stop writing yourself into some dismal existential novel and look around. Listen. It’s not just you. It’s all these people, too, and that’s the part you somehow aren’t hanging onto. So maybe you do need some Twitter and some Facebook. Just maybe smaller servings, ok?